Sustaining Places

Resources for small museums and historic sites


Sandy Bradley of The Grantsmanship Center produced this useful guide on how to get donations for a fundraising auction. is an index for grants and fundraising for non-profits.  The Arts & Culture Grants section provides a list of hundreds of grant opportunities for museums and cultural organizations.


The NEH has Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions.

The Foundation Center offers information on hundreds of private philanthropic institutions and individuals throughout the United States. The website offers help with proposal writing, a searchable database of prospective funders, and training in grant writing in various locations across the country.

Carol Norris Vincent originally published Creating and Building Endowments for Small Museums in 1997 as a technical leaflet for the Association of Indiana Museums. This contains a concise description of the planning process for an endowment campaign, offers several scenarios for development of an endowment, and even provides forms and sample by-laws to help you on your way. Remember that state law varies on the fiduciary obligations of not-for-profit museums and historic sites (PDF).


Having trouble keeping track of donor information from year-to-year? Check out this guide to donor management software. (PDF)

Crowdsourced Funding

More and more museums have turned to Kickstarter to raise funds for projects.  Kickstarter was designed for funding creative projects.  It allows backers (friends, fans & strangers) to support your project by pledging.  You can set an amount goal and deadline while tracking the funding progress.  Kickstarter now has a #Museums  tag where you can view other museum funding projects.

An alternative to Kickstarter is IndieGoGo.  This brief article from Idealware compares Kickstarter and IndieGoGo and will help you consider which platform is the better option for your small museum fundraising project.

Mailing Address

University of Delaware
Museum Studies Program, Sustaining Places
77 E. Main St.
Newark, DE 19711